Two (or three) in One Bonus Post!

For day two of the self imposed cookie – a – day challenge, I made gingerbread cookies.  And sugar cookies.  I was an over – achiever today.

I usually use a Susan Branch recipe for BOTH gingerbread cut -outs and butter cookie cut – outs, but I discovered I was out of corn syrup and had to find another way to go for the gingerbread.  Luckily, I have a wonderful resource (other than the internet!): The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook.

Also luckily, I found an online source to link to HERE for all of you of said recipe.

The dough is very simple to make, rolls out nicely, and smells divine in the oven.

There’s also no eggs in the dough so it’s even harder not to eat it raw.

Since I pulled out all the cookie cutters and whatnot I figured I’d whip out the butter cookies as well.  This is where Susan Branch comes in again with her Annie Hall’s Butter Cookies recipe.

This recipe makes a ton of cookies and is rich yet not overly so.

I made dozens and dozens of cookie shapes and set them out on the table along with frosting and sprinkles for the kids to decorate.  It kept them good and busy for quite awhile, and I didn’t have to do it.

Soon that tub will be overflowing with a cornucopia of sugar and more sugar.

Now, since I am over-achieving, I decided that in honor of tonight being the first night of Hanukkah we may as well have one of our favorite meals: Blueberry Blintzes.

Oh yeah.

I start out making my tried and true crepe recipe:

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1 cup flour

1 tsp vanilla

2 TBS sugar

2 TBS melted butter.

Whisk  all together and let it rest for 30 minutes.

While that is resting, I made the blintz filling.  I searched around the internet (well, Pinterest anyway) and got an idea for the general “feel” of a cheese filling.  SO I mixed up a cup of small curd cottage cheese, a package of cream cheese, and a quarter cup of sugar.

Once the crepe batter was ready to go I made them the usual way (in a crepe pan or frying pan) by spreading out the batter into a very thin pancake and flipping once it browned.

When all the batter was used up I rolled a good large spoonful of cheese filling into each crepe burrito – style and sauteed it about 2 or 3 minutes on each side until heated through and somewhat browned.

I didn’t have any fresh blueberries on hand, but I did have a can of blueberry pie filling.  I heated that up in the microwave while the blintzes were cooking.

When everything was ready, I placed a blintz on the plate with a dollop of blueberry topping.  If I had been thinking, I could have added a little whipped cream as well.  Next time.

A little bit of heaven on a plate.





Cookie a Day Challenge

December has been the kind of month that gives a person whiplash.  I’ve had school work to do with the kids, photo shooting to help out with at the farm, 3 days of awful sickness, a cookie party to clean and plan for, and decorating to do.

THIS week, however, all of that is behind me.  All of the shopping is done, picture – taking and posing are done, partying with my book club and friends accomplished.

Therefore, starting today – Monday – I am giving myself a completely unnecessary challenge; bake one kind of cookie every day until Christmas.  This is the kind of challenge that should result in a wide variety of cookies for us to enjoy all week with a less hectic kitchen.  It’s also the kind of plan that, once Paul gets wind of it, will create in him an almost manic glee resulting most likely in an impatient expectancy for each new batch.

Today’s batch is complete: Rugelach!


These are maybe our favorite holiday cookie.  Last year I posted the recipe and you can find it here.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s cookie: Gingerbread cut-outs!


Counting Down the Days

As the days race toward Christmas it is getting more and more difficult to keep the kids focused on schoolwork.  They’ve got the proverbial “visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads”. 

Admittedly, I do as well.  If I weren’t so busy with the business of school, housework, grocery shopping and all the other mundane tasks that take up my time I would be spending my days on holiday crafts and making every corner of the house bright.

Today I relented somewhat, and after some perfunctory math and writing exercises we dove into some paper crafts.  Hand prints on brown paper became reindeer ornaments, colored construction paper became the backdrop for wintery tomten pictures.

I am quite taken with Scandinavian style and folklore, and the tomten is no exception.  I think I like him particularly because of his traditional connection to farmers.  On a lark I traced out a paper cut design to see if I could make a reasonable garland from red paper.

Well, it is reasonable.  I didn’t say I was making a stellar garland.  I wanted this for over the kitchen sink, and that is where these little fellows hang, for now.  The construction paper was a bit too something.  Not quite right for this project.  Tissue paper was too thin.  I am thinking I will re-do this not on paper, but perhaps on felt.  Much sturdier, no need for tape.  That way it can also be reused every year.  Perhaps some single appliques for pillows even?

This holiday season is going to fly by way too quickly for me to accomplish all of the blissfully fun things I want to do.  St. Lucia’s Day is coming up soon and there are buns to bake.  The solstice will be here not long after and there will be celebrating to be done then.  Before we know it SAnta will be making his yearly deliveries and just like that it will be over.

But, then I suppose the season wouldn’t be so special if it weren’t also so very fleeting.

More Super Secret Baby Knitting

I have finished a second set of Super Secret Baby Socks.

Don’t tell anyone, okay?

My friend Theresa got a pair just like this in green, along with a striped hat.  This pair will go to my friend Laura, along with another striped hat.

Now that the pre – Christmas  super secret baby knitting is more or less done (more to do in January) I can work on some holiday knitting.

On the needles now?  A shawl out of luscious Malabrigo for my grandmother. I have visions of warm mittens, socks and Sluggy Bonnets in my head, too, but I doubt I’ll even get close to all that.

If only the weather would cooperate so I didn’t feel like a lump sitting on the couch buried in wool drinking coffee.  Alas, the 60 degree – plus sunny weather is killing me in that regard.  It’s hard to feel all Christmas-y, and I’m sweating under the wool.

But it’s okay.  Maddie put a reindeer bell on the dog.